the sub-urban brands...
Over a cup of coffee at Hollywood's Bourgeois Pig, I met up with Sarah, a PR friend. We'd originally met at Sundance, where she was promoting a number of hot denim lines. The girl's got style and access to it! So I was psyched when she told me she'd started working with a few new brands:: Sub-Urban Industries' Whiteboy, Whiteboy for Girls, and Mash Culture Lab.
Naturally, I scheduled an appointment to see the line for myself. With a photog friend by my side, we entered the Sub-Urban Industry factory for our own mini modeling session. Two company employees--the receptionist and a designer (Soul)--quickly became our pro models of the moment. Below are the highlights from our shoot. (My personal fave? The Jet Set Bubble Dress! SO cute!)
[top photos, left to right]
[bottom photos, left to right]
A Few Words with Joe Shortal, CEO of Whiteboy
Lindzi.com: How did the line come about?
Joe Shortal: The line was started in March 2003. I was approached by my former partner to do a clothing line called Whiteboy. I was in the corporate world at the time looking for an exit strategy. The name hit home with me from growing up and playing sports outside of a black area. We saw a niche between board brands and urban brands. There are a lot of kids who aren’t necessarily a surfer/skater, but they’re not necessarily a hip hop kid.
Lindzi.com: Who wears Whiteboy?
Joe Shortal: It’s a confusing brand. For 3 years, we struggled to identify the core customer. It started out as a hard core rock brand and, much to our surprise, it went urban. Two weeks ago, we hit it. We were sitting in a meeting with the person who’s helping design the current collection. They said, “Your customer is the person who says, ‘I don’t give a !@#$.’” They want to rock the attitude. It’s not an age, demographic, or color.
Lindzi.com: How will the look change from the current collection to the next?
Joe Shortal: It’ll look like anything from the funky stenciled, spray painted, high-customized look, but we’re going to bring in that high end rocker look with safety pins, bleaching, and skulls.
Lindzi.com: You have a celebrity following. Who's recently requested what?
Joe Shortal: Brittany Murphy was interested in the French terry suits – more of the active wear. There was a whole series of clothes that we did for Chester Bennington of Linkin Park. We did some things for Don Cheadle. These celebrities made it by taking a road less traveled. It’s not easy becoming an actor or being a rockstar. Everybody probably told them they couldn’t do it, but their common theme is… “Well, I don’t give a !@#$.” It’s a brand we’re creating to epitomize them.
Lindzi.com: I understand Don Cheadle even designed a shirt for the line. How did that come about?
Joe Shortal: In the aftermath of Katrina and Rita, he was watching the news coverage. He’d done a photo shoot for us a year before. He’d already been exposed to the brand. He was watching the aftermath. They kept calling them “Refugees” and he was pretty upset by it. They’re not refugees… They’re American citizens—to call them refugees means they’re some third world country and not part of us. He saw it as, if not intentional by the media and government, then at least careless. [He felt it was] a lack of respect for our fellow man. He e-mailed me and asked if we’d be interested in doing a shirt for charity and having the youth carry the message and keep the question alive. We said yes immediately. When he broke it down for us, it made sense. I hadn’t seen it from the point-of-view, but he’s right. It is insensitive. He sent over imagery and we took it from there. We’re going to re-launch it this year, in more colors, during the one year anniversary.
all photos by Michael Buckner
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